Review: In My Lungs The Ocean Swells, VAULT Festival

How does the climate crisis affect people on the micro-level? In My Lungs The Ocean Swells has some answers at the VAULT Festival

“We are seafarers.
We catch fish, always have.”

Winner of the most poetic show title of the year (so far) is Natasha Kaeda’s In My Lungs The Ocean Swells, one of those plays that does what the VAULT Festival does so well, telescoping huge unwieldly issues into the relatable and personal. Here, it is the climate crisis and the decline of the British fishing industry under the lens, made all the more engaging by exploring it through Cornish teenagers Julie and Simon.

She’s got itchy feet and is kinda thinking about moving away to the city. He’s a fisherman like so many generations before him but times are getting hard, really hard. The lure of the sea has too hard a pull on him though, he can’t imagine leaving. But when the effects of climate change are being so keenly felt, when livelihoods and indeed whole ways of living are coming under threat, where can you turn to?

Tash Hyman’s production makes as good a use of the unforgiving Cavern as I’ve seen, in evoking a real sense of atmosphere with fellow creatives Grace Venning (designer), Joe Price (lighting) and Annie May Fletcher (sound). And Kaeda’s structuring of her play is interestingly done, two sides to every story and all that. But it is her treatment of the issues that stands out, particularly as evoked in Jenny Walser and Jack Brownridge-Kelly’s performances.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
In My Lungs The Ocean Swells is booking at the VAULT Festival until 9th February

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